Thursday, 16 December 2010

On Tonights Menu We Have......

Finally it's finger out time and the promised update on what we'll actually be cooking over the Christmas event!
Now that all the plans are finally signed off and in place I have to say it's all looking rather good....I know I shouldn't count proverbial chickens and that, but the dress rehearsal for the 'upstairs' component looked really good and hopefully it'll all gel together to give a really good visit. Yes there are still a few niggles, but they're all behind the scenes things like the delivery dates of ingredients and the like....nothing major, but enough to keep us on our toes and add extra work that needn't really be there, still if that's all that goes wrong then I shouldn't complain.

So, the menu then. I should first explain that the menu I planned has had to take into account a number of added factors that we normally wouldn't have to deal with. It's not like it's a doddle at the best of times as it isn't a case of just throwing dishes together willy nilly...availability of ingredients, equipment and staffing all have to be considered as well as possible cost versus the 'return' of learning outcome/interest for the visitor....add to that the complete change of taking the food into the Great Hall, a conservation sensitive area containing priceless items from the Royal Collection and all the rules and criteria that go with that...which precludes the use of very liquid dishes or anything 'staining' like red wine or berries as well as the necessary rules about how food should be transported to and carried through the Hall...all of which meant that 'simple' was the way to go.
So as I said in the original post about the event, given all the factors to take into account, we shall be cooking a menu that ostensibly sticks quite closely to one of the two courses listed for the Kings meals in the diet lists contained within the regulations for the Royal Household set down at Eltham in 1526. Obviously, in order to cook and talk to the visitors, we aren't able to prepare the full menu (that and the fact that we don't have a fully staffed kitchen!) so I cherry picked dishes that fit all the criteria and will be interesting to cook as well, hopefully, as interesting to watch.

We'll be cooking the following menu on each of the 7 days, with only the potage of flesh varying in order to give us a little variety:


Cheat and Manchet breads
A potage of flesh
Lamb stewed & chynes of mutton
Gigot of mutton stopped with cloves
Roast capon
Roast pheasant
Roast beef

The Potage of Flesh will be:

Beef y-stywyd
Fylets en galentine 
To stew steaks of mutton 
Lange wortys de chare 
Stew after the guise of beyond the sea 
Autre veal en buknade

From our point of view, cooking a large and varied number of roast meats (all of which can be served pretty 'dry' to reduce the risk of spillage) will be a challenge...getting them all ready at the same time is the aim rather than cook one, then the next and not worry too much about it going cold as we would have done in the past....well, it was only us eating it, this time, with a 'client' things are different. As I've mentioned before this is the first step on a new ladder, so perhaps in the future the balance of dish types may change....who knows.
I intend to put the recipes that we'll be using for the potage's of flesh up on the forum, in the recipe area, so that you can see what we'll be cooking and ask any questions that you'd like about them's also an easy place for people to find them if they ask when we're actually cooking so that they can have a go themselves.

There's probably more to add, but I can't think what at this time, I'll post 'it' if and when I work out what 'it' is!



terrylove said...

Wow, that looks to be a challenging menu to do, day after day for 7 days, especially the timings of the roasts.

I know you've practiced beef, mutton and chicken to get the times and when to start things so the finish together. The capon (fat, presumably bigger chicken) and the pheasant though?

Are there plans for "one we prepared earlier" to stand in upstairs if there's a hiccup? I wouldn't coun that as cheating, just good sense for the benefit of the spectacle.

Tudor Cook said...

"Are there plans for 'one we prepared earlier' to stand in upstairs if there's a hiccup? I wouldn't coun that as cheating, just good sense for the benefit of the spectacle."

No! We don't intend to be at home to Mr Cockup ;o)

terrylove said...

That's all very well, but sometimes "Mr Cockup" has a set of keys...

Fingers crossed...

Tudor Cook said...

true, true...and he carries a gemmy bar too, just in case!!

We've found in the past that having a stand-by means that too much time is spent focussed on getting the stand-by sorted and not the actual dishes. The stand-by, if there needs to be one, is less on the table, simple as that really. If it all went biblically wrong, then we'd cross that bridge as and when.